malleable \MAL-ee-uh-buhl\ (adjective) -
1 : Capable of being extended or shaped by beating with a hammer, or by the pressure of rollers; -- applied to metals.
2 : Capable of being altered or controlled by outside forces; easily influenced.
3 : Capable of adjusting to changing circumstances; adaptable. "If the heart were always malleable and the feelings could be controlled, who would permit himself to be tormented by any of nthe reverses which affection meets?" -- Anthony Trollope, 'The Small House at Allington' Malleable comes from Medieval Latin malleabilis, from malleare, "to hammer," from Latin malleus, "hammer."
malversation \mal-vur-SAY-shun\ (noun) -
Misconduct, corruption, or extortion in public office. "No man can designate the extent of such an official malversation, demonstrated, as it has been here, in the presence of us all, who are the lawful custodiers of the kingly dignity in this his majesty's royal burgh." --John Galt, 'Provost' Malversation comes, via French, from Latin male, "badly" + versari, "to be engaged in, to take part in."
manse \MAN(T)S\ (noun) -
1 : A large and imposing residence.
2 : The residence of a clergyman (especially a Presbyterian clergyman). "That Carmela was a certified divorcee was one of many facts about her which failed to fit, along with her still living with her adopted daughter in her eerie gothic Victorian manse." Manse comes from Medieval Latin mansa, "a dwelling," from Latin manere, "to dwell; to remain."
mantra \MAN-truh\ (noun) -
1 : A sound, word, or phrase that is repeated in prayer and is believed to have mystical powers.
2 : An often repeated word or phrase that is closely associated with something; a slogan, byword, or a watchword.
'Well beyond the mantra that 'customer service was job one,' the company utlilized a top-down approach that assured that everyone was served quickly and enthusiastically.'
From Sanskrit mantra (thought, formula). Ultimately from Indo-European root men- (to think) which is the source of mind, mnemonic, mosaic, music, mentor, money, and mandarin.
mawkish \MOCK-ish\ (adjective) -
1 : Sickly or excessively sentimental.
2 : Insipid in taste; nauseous; disgusting.
"It was quickly done, without words of mawkish sentiment. But it was enough, a silent exchange of souls, the culmination of all that had gone before." -- Matt Braun, 'The Kincaids'
Mawkish originally meant "maggoty" (from Middle English mawke, maggot), hence squeamish, nauseating, hence tending to render squeamish or make nauseated, especially because of excessive sentimentality.
megalopolis \meg-uh-LOP-uh-lis\ also megapolis \mi-GAP-uh-lis, me-\ (noun)
- A region made up of several large cities and their surrounding areas in sufficient proximity to be considered a single urban complex.
'While members of one end of the city tended to be intensely loyal to their own neighborhoods, there were inevitably indifferent to the surrounding megalopolis.'
Megalo- + Greek polis, city.
melange \may-LAHNZH\ (noun) -
A mixture; a medley.
"So, we already have melange concerts and melange theater," the scholar intervened. "Melange language will soon follow, you'll see." -- Albert Robida, 'The Twentieth Century'
Melange derives from Old French meslance, from mesler, "to mix," ultimately from Latin miscere, "to mix."
mendacious \men-DAY-shuhs\ (adjective) -
1 : Given to deception or falsehood; lying; untruthful; as, a mendacious person.
2 : False; untrue; as, a mendacious statement.
"While Jason's writings, speeches, and decisions supplied crucial evidence they also contained mendacious elements, gaps, and camouflage."
Mendacious is from Latin mendax, mendac-, "lying."
mephitic \muh-FIT-ik\ (adjective) -
1 : Offensive to the smell; as, mephitic odors.
2 : Poisonous; noxious.
"The mephitic stench from the bilge became overpowering." -- Richard Holmes, Coleridge: Darker Reflections, 1804-1834
Mephitic is the adjective form of mephitis, "a foul-smelling or noxious exhalation from the earth; a stench from any source," from the Latin.
mercurial \mur-KYUR-ee-uhl\ (adjective) -
1 - [Often capitalized] Of or pertaining to the god Mercury.
2 - [Often capitalized] Of or pertaining to the planet Mercury.
3 - Having the qualities of shrewdness, eloquence, or thievishness attributed to the god Mercury.
4 - Changeable in temperament or mood; temperamental; volatile.
5 - Of, pertaining to, or containing mercury.
6 - Caused by the use of mercury.
"Now, with God's help, make our queen volatile and our king fixed by immersing them in the mercurial fountain, which must be sealed tight as a tomb wherein..." -- Patrick Harpur, 'Mercurius: The Marriage of Heaven and Earth'
Mercurial comes from Latin Mercurius, "Mercury," the Roman god of commerce and messenger of the gods.
miasma \my-AZ-muh; mee-\ (noun) -
1 : A vaporous exhalation (as of marshes or putrid matter) formerly thought to cause disease; broadly, a thick vaporous atmosphere or emanation.
2 : A harmful or corrupting atmosphere or influence; also, an atmosphere that obscures; a fog.
"After being without power for several days due to the hurricaine, everyone was surrounded by a miasma of their own body odors due to lack of regular bathing."
Miasma comes from Greek miasma, "pollution," from miainein, "to pollute."
misprize \mis-PRYZ\ (transitive verb) -
1 : To hold in contempt.
2 : To undervalue.
"What was it that enabled him, short of being a monster with visibly cloven feet and exhaling brimstone, to misprize so cruelly a nature like his wife's..." -- Henry James, 'Madame de Mauves'
Misprize comes from Middle French mesprisier, from mes-, "amiss, wrong" + prisier, "to appraise."
monomania \mon-uh-MAY-nee-uh; -nyuh\ (noun) -
1 : Pathological obsession with a single subject or idea.
2 : Excessive concentration of interest upon one particular subject or idea.
"Jenn's monomania regarding the popular television program was such that all other activities, including work, were shoved aside once the new season began."
mores \MOR-ayz; -eez\ (plural noun) -
1 : The fixed customs of a particular group that are morally binding upon all members of the group.
2 : Moral attitudes.
3 : Customs; habits; ways.
"After him I love
More than I love these eyes, more than my life,
More, by all mores,than e'er I shall love wife.
If I do feign, you witnesses above
Punish my life for tainting of my love!" -- William Shakespeare, 'Twelfth Night, or, What You Will
Mores comes from Latin, plural of mos, "custom." It is related to moral.
moxie \MOK-see\ (noun) -
1 : The ability to face difficulty with spirit and courage.
2 : Aggressive energy; initiative.
3 : Skill; know-how.
'It was nothing more than pure moxie that allowed Clarice to come from dead last in the cheerleading competition to take the grand prize.'
mulligrubs \MUL-i-grubz\ (noun) -
1 : Grumpiness; colic; low spirits.
2 : An ill-tempered person.
'After going on her tenth disastrous blind date in a row, Francine found herself deep within the doldrums of her mulligrubs, convinced that she would never meet her Mr. Right.'
From mulliegrums, apparently from megrims (low spirits).